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Northern California cries “Foul!”

Last week 43 cities, counties, water districts, and associations from all parts of Northern California sent a letter to Karen Scarborough, Undersecretary of the Natural Resources Agency, expressing concerns about the lack of Due Process in consideration of the BDCP plan document scheduled for release November 18.

They expressed “foundational concerns” about water rights and Delta flows, and about funding.  They noted that “The November 18th document should describe in detail the benefit that the PREs [potentially regulated entities] will receive, as well as any benefits that the public is expected to receive and pay for.”

Attached to this letter was another to sent to Scarborough on September 3 by Stuart L. Somach, General Counsel of Glenn Colusa Irrigation District (GCID) expressing concerns about the “ranges of operations” being considered by the BDCP.

Said Somach, “GCID supports efforts to achieve the coequal goals set forth in SB 7x 1, but remains concerned that the obligations for meeting these goals will fall upon parties not responsible for the Delta’s existing conditions and who will not benefit from the activities contemplated by SB 7x 1.”

According to Somach, long-standing principles of California water law would be violated if upstream senior diverters were expected to forego diversions in order for BDCP to meet its goals.  Area of origin statutes protect Northern California water supplies from injury by export projects.

Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar got a copy of this letter.  He needs to study it carefully before getting together with the PREs this week to talk about federal support for the BDCP.

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